There are a plethora of solutions for assistive technology and a great number of devices that can help our special needs students. As I browsed through the products on EnableMart I found several that would be useful accommodations for students at my school. The Ergonomic Keyboards and Mice would be appropriate for our students who visit our Occupational Therapist for strength and coordination training. The Desktop Video Magnifiers would be helpful for those students with low vision. Finally, the Go Talk One message device would be a benefit for our Autistic students as they can hear the names for common objects.
Simple Accommodations in Three Situations
If I had to implement a simple accommodation to assist my students with processing or attention deficits I would provide them with copies of notes for my lessons so that they do not need to take notes, but could focus on what I was saying. These students need to focus on the speaker, and would not be able to keep up if note taking were required. For students that have an Occupational or Physical Therapist, a pencil gripper and thicker pencil could be provided. These students struggle with handwriting, and this would be a simple way to enhance their writing tool. Finally, for the deaf or hard of hearing students at my school I could make sure to reduce the background noise as much as possible, place these students in the front of the room, and make sure that all videos are closed captioned.
Helpful Website and Assistive Technology Hardware
Watching the YouTube link about Leigh-Anne Tompkins was very eye opening. She was born with a lack of oxygen, which led to cerebral palsy, but that disability did not stop her from graduating magna cum laude in Fine Arts. She uses Assistive Technology to operate her computer and she even started her own company. A software program provided her voice for the video and a track ball for her foot allowed her to create pictures on the computer. It was absolutely amazing to see how far this woman had come and what she has already accomplished in her life!
I think that it is wonderful that there are so many Assistive Technology options for people with disabilities. I know that there are many things I take for granted in my life and I didn't even realize the scope of what is available for people with disabilities. It is so important for all students to have the same learning opportunities and AT hardware can provide that to them!